BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Mills supports our Black students, staff, faculty, and allies against anti-Black racism, police violence, and racial inequity. It is our responsibility to lead at this critical moment and fulfill our commitment to pursuing gender and racial justice. Our actions must create lasting impact both at Mills College and beyond.
What We're Doing
Mills is committed to taking action to become an antiracist institution. We began this past summer working in collaboration with our Board of Trustees, informed by the voices and efforts of our Black Student Collective, Black MBA Students Group, Black Faculty and Staff Association, all Black Mills faculty and staff, and the Alumnae of Color Committee of the Alumnae Association of Mills College. On October 15, 2020, the Mills College Board of Trustees ratified a Commitment to Antiracism statement that affirms our values and will guide our actions. We are also working on a plan to share with our community in the fall 2020 semester.
For the last several months, we have held important conversations with our community members. Our goal is listen to, follow their lead, and support their efforts, and those of our East Oakland neighbors. They have asked us to use the following principles in developing our antiracism plan:
- Go beyond “standing against” anti-Black racism, police violence, and racial injustice and embody racial and social equity.
- Go beyond optical allyship to address the institutional, interpersonal, and structural racism that shapes Mills’ policies, behaviors, and the lived experiences of Black students, staff, and faculty.
- Go beyond just studying, investigating, and decrying racism and lead tangible institutional policy and practice efforts to end it.
Student activism is a central part of the Mills educational experience, and they have asked us to make changes in the following areas:
- Improved classroom climate
- Increased number of Black faculty and staff
- Anti-racist training for faculty and staff
- New systems for reporting and handling racial discrimination
- Improved student support, including resources designed specifically for Black students
We approach this process openly and will strive to develop our plan and implementation timelines with full transparency. If you have any feedback or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We've Done
While we recognize that we have much work to do, here we share some of the progress that Mills has made to be an inclusive, diverse environment that provides access and opportunities to Black students and students of color.
- Black Student Recruitment, Retention & Support: Mills has been working with Black students and student organizations to increase our recruitment, retention, and support of Black students for a number of years. In 2019, we published a summary (PDF) of the progress toward these goals and next steps in these ongoing efforts.
- Faculty Diversification: During the past four years, Mills has transformed faculty hiring processes using best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion and hired 19 new full-time faculty of color.
- Mills Promise Scholarship Programs: Mills developed a series of partnerships with Oakland and East Bay school districts to encourage high school students of color to attend a four-year college by providing scholarships, mentoring, and leadership development experiences to help them succeed.
- Test-Optional Admissions: Recognizing the inherent inequities in standardized testing and their impact on communities of color, Mills stopped requiring that students submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of our admission process in 2016.
- Transfer Student Pathways: To serve community college students in California who are looking to transfer to a four-year institution, Mills began outreach and support for these predominantly students of color. Today, more than 30% of our undergraduate student population includes transfer students from our East Bay community colleges with pathways specifically designed for them.
- Summer Academic Workshop: More than 30 years ago, Mills created the Summer Academic Workshop designed to provide a multi-week residential experience to prepare first-generation students of color for college. The success of this program resulted in the creation of a variety of summer bridge programs to support talented students of color on their college journey.
- 50 Years of Ethnic Studies: In 2019, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of ethnic studies at Mills—the first program of its type founded at an independent college in the country. In 1969, the Mills Black Student Union protested against the lack of Black professors on campus, and their demands for representation led to the creation of the Ethnic Studies Program at Mills. Learn about the history.
- Recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as a Mills holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
Who We Are
Founded in 1852 to create educational access for women, Mills has expanded our mission to include a commitment to dismantling gender and racial barriers. While we are recognized for our diversity and commitment to equity and inclusion, today, we are taking action to deepen this commitment as an anti-racist institution.
Infographic Source Data: 2019–20 Facts & Trends (Mills data); 2018–19 US Department of Education (comparison data); 2019–20 IPEDS and 2018 Standard Occupational Classification System (management data)
Black student, faculty, staff, and management statistics do not include individuals reporting as multiracial (two or more races).